Let It Begin with Me
“…on earth peace and good will toward men and women” (paraphrased from Luke 2:14). I long for peace on earth and good will between all humans. I’m just tired of the division and violence and naysayers. I dream about peace: peace in my country, peace in my community, peace in my family, peace in my own heart and soul. I try to imagine how that peace could be realized.
In the eleventh chapter of Isaiah, we read about the shoot from the stump of Jesse on whom the Spirit of the Lord shall rest. This shoot will judge with justice and stand for the poor. Upon the coming of the shoot, true peace shall reign…
Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
the calf and the young lion shall browse together,
with a little child to guide them.
The cow and the bear shall be neighbors,
together their young shall rest;
the lion shall eat hay like the ox.
The baby shall play by the cobra's den,
and the child lay his hand on the adder's lair.
Enemies will be friends, hosting each other and resting together! Neighbors will no longer be enemies, in fact, their children will play together! How I long for such peace, don’t you?
These dreams of peace bring back my grade school days when we would screech out the hymn, “Let There Be Peace on Earth”. My teeth hurt just thinking about our singing back then. But I think one of the clues to lasting peace is in the last line of that song:
Let there be peace on earth,
and let it begin with me.
I need to be peaceful. What does that mean to me? I used to think that what I wanted was a simpler life. I tried everything from reading books about the Amish way of life to trying to KonMari my closets and drawers. It didn’t work. It felt like I was running away from my life.
I have come to realize accepting my life, the good and the bad, the ups and the downs, is the path to peace. I am learning to accept what comes with the faith that God is with me. The eleventh chapter goes on to say:
There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD,
as water covers the sea.
On that day, the root of Jesse,
set up as a signal for the nations,
the Gentiles shall seek out,
for his dwelling shall be glorious.
During this second week of Advent, look for peace. Be at peace knowing that you need not right every wrong. Be at peace knowing that God is with you in the difficult seasons as well as the smooth ones. Be at peace and let peace begin with you.
Susan Amann is the Director of Spiritual Ministry for the Servants of the Holy Heart of Mary. For more information about her ministry, visit the program page of the Sisters’ website.